by David Thompson
You've seen the offers for bank bonuses: $100 bonus if you open a checking account with direct deposit. Sounds like easy money. But what if you don't have a paycheck to use for a direct deposit? Some banks will accept an ACH push instead.
The Automated Clearing House, or ACH, is a simple way of transferring money from one bank to another online, and an ACH push means you're "pushing" money from one bank account into another. If you make a transfer each month, some banks consider it the same as a direct deposit, and will give bonuses or waive fees just the same as if you were directly depositing a paycheck each month.
Does Your Bank Think an ACH Push is a Direct Deposit?
Every bank is different, so if you have an eye on a bonus, first search for the name of the bank and "ACH push" to see if anyone has reported whether it works at that particular bank.
It doesn't work at all banks, and policies often change, but if you think it'll work to meet your direct deposit requirement, here's how to do it.
Pushing the Deposit to your Account
If you don't already have online banking at your regular bank, you'll need to set up online access. You'll also need to open the new account that you want to push money into.
When you're ready, log in to your regular bank account and go through the steps to link the new account to your regular bank account. You'll need to type in the new bank's routing number and account number. The account number is on each bank statement. The routing number is the lower left number on your checks, you can call or go to the new bank's website to find it.
Next, you'll probably have to verify the new bank's link. It's not hard, and just means you need to wait for two tiny deposits to show up automatically in your account, and then report the amounts. The website will guide you through the process.
Once your new account is linked to your regular account, you're ready to do an ACH push.
Log in to your regular bank's website, and click to transfer money to the new linked bank account. You can fill in whatever amount you want, and either repeat it manually each month, or request the same amount be transfered monthly automatically.